The spectrum allocated to CB Radios is divided into 40 channels, spanning frequencies from 26.965 to 27.405 MHz. These channels are typically separated by a spacing of 10 KHz.
Although these channels are accessible to everyone, certain channels have established purposes, which are indicated in the provided table. For instance, Channel 9 is reserved for emergency communications, while Channel 19 is primarily utilized by truck drivers.
If you wish to obtain specific information or share messages on these channels, you are encouraged to do so or simply switch over to listen. However, it’s important to note that truckers have their own unique terminologies and informal speech, and talkative visitors are not always warmly received. Therefore, if you decide to join Channel 19 as an outsider, be prepared and aware of the environment you are entering.
|1||26.965 MHz||General public use|
|2||26.975 MHz||General public use|
|3||26.985 MHz||General public use|
|4||27.005 MHz||General public use but often used for off-roading activities|
|5||27.015 MHz||General public use|
|6||27.025 MHz||General public use|
|7||27.035 MHz||General public use|
|8||27.055 MHz||General public use|
|9||27.065 MHz||Emergency communications|
|10||27.075 MHz||General public use but often used by truck drivers for regional roads|
|11||27.085 MHz||General public use|
|12||27.105 MHz||General public use|
|13||27.115 MHz||General public use but often used by marine|
|14||27.125 MHz||General public use but often used as a walkie talkie comms|
|15||27.135 MHz||General public use|
|16||27.155 MHz||General public use + SSB|
|17||27.165 MHz||General public + Truckers (Topic: North/south traffic)|
|18||27.175 MHz||General public use|
|19||27.185 MHz||Truckers topic + Truckers (Topic: East/west highway traffic)|
|20||27.205 MHz||General public use|
|21||27.215 MHz||General public use + Truckers (Topic: Regional roads)|
|22||27.225 MHz||General public use|
|23||27.255 MHz||General public use|
|24||27.235 MHz||General public use|
|25||27.245 MHz||General public use|
|26||27.265 MHz||General public use|
|27||27.275 MHz||General public use|
|28||27.285 MHz||General public use|
|29||27.295 MHz||General public use|
|30||27.305 MHz||General public use|
|31||27.315 MHz||General public use|
|32||27.325 MHz||General public use|
|33||27.335 MHz||General public use|
|34||27.345 MHz||General public use|
|35||27.355 MHz||General public use|
|36||27.365 MHz||General public use + SSB|
|37||27.375 MHz||General public use + SSB|
|38||27.385 MHz||General public use + SSB + LSB|
|39||27.395 MHz||General public use + SSB|
|40||27.405 MHz||General public use + SSB|
Why is it Limited to 40 Channels?
In simple terms, there are different operators assigned to frequencies by FCC other than those used by CB Radios.
Frequencies such as 27.430, 27.450, 27.470, 27.490, 27.510, and 27.530 MHz belong to the Business Radio Service, which falls within the VHF and UHF two-way radio bands.
The federal government controls frequencies from 27.540 to 28.000 MHz, while the U.S. military uses frequencies from 26.480 to 26.960 MHz.
The Civil Air Patrol, a part of the U.S.A.F., is assigned 26.620 MHz, although they primarily use VHF frequencies nowadays.
The 10-meter amateur radio (Ham) band spans from 28.000 to 29.700 MHz.
It is against the law to use frequencies or channels outside the CB range or within the 11-meter frequency range (above or below the 10 kHz spacing) and even the top CB radios are bound by those rules. This practice, known as freebanding, may seem tempting when CB frequencies are congested, and other frequencies appear quiet. However, I strongly advise against succumbing to that temptation and it is best to avoid freebanding altogether.
These frequencies are assigned to other operators, including the federal government, and engaging in such activities carries significant risks. Legal operators on these channels are vigilant in reporting unauthorized use, and the Federal Communication Commission (FCC) takes strict action, including:
- Issuing a Notice of Apparent Liability
- Confiscating your radio equipment
- Imposing fines of $10,000 or more
- Suspending your FCC license(s)